August 29, 2010
Langston is charged with possession of crack cocaine, but he’s claiming that the search which yielded the illegal drug was unlawful.
Deputy Andrews, the arresting officer, tells the court his search was valid because the defendant had a “bulge in his coat that looked like it could be a weapon.”
Deputy Andrews explains to the court: “It was 2 a.m. The defendant was in an area frequented by drug dealers. When I spotted this ‘person of interest,’ he looked like he was getting ready to run.”
Under such circumstances the law generally allows a pat-down of a person of interest for a possible concealed weapon. That same law, used primarily for the safety of officers, has been successfully tested many times in court.
Deputy Andrews searches his suspect but finds no weapon. Instead, the bulge that got his attention produces a stash of crack cocaine with a street value of $4,000.
Now Langston, the defendant, is on the witness stand telling the court, “No way my jacket looked like a bulge from a gun.” He’s patting a side pocket of the jacket he’s wearing on the witness stand — the same jacket he wore the night Deputy Andrews busted him.
Langston takes off the jacket and hands it up to the judge saying, “Check it out, your honor — no way was I carrying a gun.”
The judge, with an open mind, reaches into the jacket, fishes around a bit and comes out with a plastic bag -- that later proves to be crack cocaine. For a moment, the courtroom falls stone silent. Everybody is thinking a collective, “Oops!”
Then the judge breaks out with a chuckle, a reaction that’s followed by everybody in the courtroom. A brief recess is called to give people a chance to calm down. Just before the court re-convenes, Deputy Andrews leans over the bar and whispers to Langston: “I see you remembered to take your stupid pills this morning.”
Posted by Bob Ford at 8/29/2010